I guess it can be sort of weird to put your life out there for the world to see. I bet people wonder what kind of person would do that. I never thought I would be one of those people with my comic EmiTown. When I was a kid, girls had diaries that, for good reason, had locks on them to help keep their innermost thoughts private. I'm sure any tween girl would be appalled to find her diary on the shelves of bookstores across the county for anybody to pick up and flip through. No! My secrets!
It was not an easy decision to put my life out there. I thought about it long and hard. I considered the consequences. Which turned out were mainly my friends laughing at me and strangers laughing at me or everyone just hating it.
I had read a graphic novel by Craig Thompson called Blankets about seven years ago and remembered what a profound effect it had on me. I was touched that Craig had taken the time to make an amazing story about his life and share it with anyone who had interest in reading it. He touched on very sensitive subjects such as religion and sex; subjects that I am still a bit nervous about sharing. This work, and also works by Adriane Tomine and Jeffrey Brown, inspired me to take the plunge. If they could do it, maybe I could, too? And maybe, just maybe someone might like it?
My comic is nowhere near the level of greatness that is Blankets, and my subject matter tends to be a bit lighter and more humorous. The diary is still something that I draw for myself so that I can remember moments in my life that I found entertaining and hope that someone else my find it fun to read.
I'm surprised that EmiTown has been accepted the way it has been! I guess in this day and age of Facebook, Twitter, reality TV shows, and LiveJournals, people have become more interested in the lives of others. Maybe because it's refreshing to see that we're not alone in the world. There are other people out there who hate their jobs, who are heartbroken, who are happy to eat a breakfast burrito, or who can appreciate a tasty beer.
Needless to say, my friends haven't laughed at me (that I know of) from reading my book! That's a good sign, I hope.
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Emi Lenox has dreamed of becoming a cartoonist since she was a little girl reading the manga her Japanese mother provided. She spent her early 20s getting inspiration from the works of Jeff Smith, Adrian Tomine, and Craig Thompson, doodling in her sketchbook, and interning in Portland's comics community. With the release of EmiTown, her first published work, it's finally her turn.
Books mentioned in this post
Emi Lenox is the author of EmiTown